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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Protecting vulnerable rural communities, taking Action on Invasives

Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people face problems with invasive weeds, insects and plant diseases, which are out of control and have a major impact on global prosperity, communities and the environment.

Developing countries are disproportionately affected. In East Africa alone, five major invasive species cause US$1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers each year.

In response, CABI has launched a unique, global programme with the aim to protect and improve the livelihoods of 50 million poor rural households impacted by invasive species. The DFID- and DGIS-funded Action on Invasives programme will champion an environmentally sustainable, cross-sectoral and regional approach to dealing with invasive species.

The programme brings together CABI’s 100-year track record in invasive species management, putting invasives knowledge into the hands of everyone affected – from farmers to policymakers.

The ultimate goal is to enable developing countries to prevent, detect and control invasive species. This is in order to protect and restore agricultural and natural ecosystems, reduce crop losses, improve health, remove trade barriers, and reduce degradation of natural resources, infrastructure and vulnerable areas.


Tackling woody weeds in East Africa

CABI, as part of the Woody Weeds project, has been researching the effects that invasive trees like prosopis can have on water resources. In the Afar region of Ethiopia, the project found that prosopis absorbs 20-30 billion litres of water a day – about the same as the average daily rainfall in the invaded area.

In an already arid and drought-prone region, water shortages threaten the survival and well-being of local people. For millions of livestock farmers, competition over water resources is likely to hamper their resilience to adapting to a drier, hotter environment caused by climate change. From 2018 to 2020, CABI scientists will develop, test and evaluate various options for managing woody weeds on a local and national scale.

Learn about Action on Invasives at

Learn about Woody Weeds at


Action on Invasives:

UK Department for International Development (DFID)

The Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS, Netherlands)

Woody weeds:

Swiss National Science Foundation

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation